April 27, 2015 01:47 UTC

Science & Technology

How Overfishing Threatens Asia's Wild Fish Stocks

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Double-click on any word to find the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Bluefin tuna being cut up on board a Japanese fishing vesselBluefin tuna being cut up on board a Japanese fishing vessel
x
Bluefin tuna being cut up on board a Japanese fishing vessel
Bluefin tuna being cut up on board a Japanese fishing vessel

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
 
The pressure to feed Asia's growing population has led to dangerous levels of overfishing near Pacific coastlines.
 
An example can be found in Sindangan, a fishing town in the southern Philippines. Wild catches are falling while prices are rising.
 
This fisherman says the area's once healthy fish stocks are in danger because of an increase in the number of fishing boats.
 
Across the South China Sea, fish catches near shore have dropped since the nineteen eighties. That drop has pushed fishermen to go offshore with bigger boats.
 
Benjamin Francisco is an official with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He says some of the methods they use to increase their catches are destructive.
 
"The use of fine mesh net, the use of dynamite explosives for fishing, and other fishing gear, that catches juveniles or those that harvest maturing spawning stocks."
 
Fishing methods like these harm the ability of some species to reproduce. The fish warden in Sindangan, Julie Buot, says most of the local fishermen use fine mesh nets. Such nets have been banned for years because they catch very young fish.
 
To deal with problems like this, Benjamin Francisco has been promoting the idea of licensing systems. The aim is to limit the number of boats on the water.
 
Asia has the world's largest fishing fleets. They represent nearly three million of the world's four million fishing vessels. And most estimates show that the numbers are increasing.
 
In Hong Kong, there are increased efforts to regulate fleets and to ban trawling for fish near shore. More than two hundred million dollars is being spent in an effort to increase catches by small fishing operations. So Ping-man of the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is hopeful about the efforts. He expects catch values to increase.
 
But Hong Kong's measures are costly. Benjamin Francisco says a lot of governments in Asia are not in a position to copy them. 
 
"The issues are deeply rooted in poverty, the inability of local government to respond immediately, insufficiency of funds."
 
In Sindangan, Wilfredo Ortega feeds a family of nine children from small-scale fishing. On a recent day, he caught only half a dollar's worth of fish. He had to return to shore early because of monsoon winds.
 
"In these months, it's quite tight," he says, talking about the difficulty of saving money. "We can only save during the months of November, December, January. We can save by catching young sardines."
 
The young sardines may feed Mr. Ortega's family for now. But the catches today mean fewer mature fish tomorrow. And they mean an even riskier future for those who depend on fishing when no other work is available.
 
And that's the Agriculture Report in Special English. I'm Christopher Cruise.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jean
10/16/2012 10:55 PM
The same situations happen all around the world. We use extreme methods to make a profit no matter how we will be hurt in the future or maybe just tomorrow.


by: Erkhsoyorkhuun from: In India
10/14/2012 8:25 AM
The overfishing is one of the serious problems in the world nowadays. instead of catching them, we shoud reduce eat them. Apart from that, you can make a difference if you really want to do something to protect the environment


by: Michèle from: michele.soubiran@orange.f
10/12/2012 9:56 AM
Overfishing is a global environmental disaster.Whith the forecast world populaton levels, the problem is difficult to solve.
The text describes a few interesting mistigation measures of overfishing in Asia.
European Union has a fishing quota system, so fishermen can only take a certain amount of fish.
The possibility of using and developing fish farming is maybe a answer to the problem.


by: Elenir Maria Scardueli from: Brasília-Brazil
10/10/2012 9:30 PM
Worrying. Tomorrow it´s not going to cry for the fish that couldn´t be born because the cubs were caught before of certain time. There is going to have much more famished people..

Of that way, in future, unfortunately is going to have much more famished people..


by: olimar oliveira from: Caetite, bahia /Brasil
10/10/2012 6:44 PM
really, the catches of young fish prejudice the future the families. the government have to invest more money to avoid predatory fish.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
10/09/2012 8:15 AM
According to the FAO report, fish stocks threat occurs not only in the Asian shore but increases also in the high seas. It's because regulation of illegal fishing is more difficult in open seas. Anyway, it leaves nothing to us if we are shortsighted and have caught out all fishery resources. What should we do for maintainig sustainable fishing? To release juveniles, to restrict fishing seasons and amount of catches, and to raising spawn and so on seem needed. But I'm afraid to say is one thing, to do is another.

Learn with The News

  • Audio World Reaches Out to Nepal After Deadly Earthquake

    As reports of the death toll rise in Nepal, countries and relief organizations around the world are rushing to send personnel and supplies to aid the search and rescue effort. By Sunday, the death toll had risen above 2,500. There are many more reportedly injured and homeless. More

  • In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, a number of women play and photograph cats at the Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, Calif. Following similar cafe concepts in Asia & Europe, the cafe has become America's first permanent feline-friendly coffee shop. Cafe customers pay to pet cute kitties while sipping on tea or expresso drinks. It allows customers, who may not be able to have cats in their own homes, to enjoy the benefits of furry friends for short times without the responsibility. The animals come from a partnership with a local animal shelter and are also available for adoption. This may just be the beginning of this country's cat cafe craze as others plan on opening soon in Seattle, Portland, San Diego and Denver. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    Audio Cat Cafes Offer Cats and Coffee

    Most people go to a café to get their cup of coffee. At Cat Town Café in Oakland, California, they can also observe and play with cats. Cat Town Café is the first cat café in the U.S. It is a mix of a coffee shop and an adoption center for cats. Cat cafés are now spreading to other U.S. cities. More

  • Nepal Earthquake

    Video Death Toll Rises Above 2,500 in Nepal Earthquake

    A major earthquake and dozens of powerful aftershocks struck Nepal Saturday, destroying parts of Katmandu, the capital city. The quake killed more than 2,500 people. The 7.8-magnitude quake shook Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. It was the most powerful to hit the area in 81 years. More

  • Audio Islam Is the Fastest Growing Religion in the World

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, according to a new study. The Pew Research Center spent six years studying the demographics of population and religion around the world. What they found is that as the world population grows between 2010 and 2050, so will Islam. More

  • The New Orleans skyline shows St. Louis Cathedral, left, the Presbyterian Building, right, and the Natchez paddle boat headed down the foggy Mississippi River, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2005. New Orleans has a New Year's Eve celebration scheduled in the Jackson Square area with music including Arlo Guthrie and family and fireworks. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)

    Video 40th Anniversary for Mississippi River Steamboat

    In the 1800s, many steamboats sailed up and down the mighty Mississippi River, which divided the eastern states from the West. Today only a few of these steam-powered paddleboats still operate on the Mississippi. We travel on one of them and learn the history of the boats and the river. | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Islam Is the Fastest Growing Religion in the World

    Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, according to a new study. The Pew Research Center spent six years studying the demographics of population and religion around the world. What they found is that as the world population grows between 2010 and 2050, so will Islam. More

  • Audio When It Comes to Money, Black Is Better Than Red

    Colors come to the rescue when you want to describe a business that is making money or losing money. Judging from Jack Ma's smile at Alibaba's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange, he's making a lot of money. Also learn other useful banking terms. More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: In, On and At

    Many learners have questions about English grammar rules for using prepositions of place and time. We present a few simple guidelines to help you put your prepositions in the right places. In English, though, there is always an ‘exception to the rule. More

  • Video Monkeys Rule the Ruins in Disney Documentary

    The new Disneynature film “Monkey Kingdom” centers on a troop of tocque macaques that live in a special place in Sri Lanka. The animals live under a strict social order. New mother Maya is low on that order and struggles for survival with her newborn, Kip. Danger and drama define their existence. More

  • Video Benito Cereno by Herman Melville, Part Three

    Today we complete the story of Benito Cereno, written by Herman Melville. As we told you in earlier parts of our story, rebel slaves seized the ship San Dominick off the coast of Chile. They killed many of its officers and crew. The captain, Benito Cereno, was ordered to sail to Senegal. But... More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs